Covid-19: a Chinese city tracks its 13 million inhabitants

The large Chinese city of Xi’an (north), known for its army buried in terracotta, began Tuesday, December 21 to screen all of its 13 million inhabitants after the detection of around forty cases of Covid- 19. While the number of cases in China is extremely low compared to other countries, authorities do not want to leave anything to chance before the Winter Olympics and the major Chinese New Year trips.

The country has practically eradicated the epidemic on its soil since the spring of 2020 thanks to long mandatory quarantines on arrival, targeted containments, massive screenings, mobile applications for tracking movements and the drastic limitation of international flights. China, however, continues to regularly face small sporadic outbreaks, usually contained within a few weeks. The virus appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China.

“Zero Covid” strategy

The health ministry on Tuesday reported 42 new patients registered in Xi’an. This brings the number of patients registered in the city since December 9 to 91, according to local health authorities. The city has also closed schools and large indoor recreation centers, while encouraging residents to avoid going out and congregating in large groups. The museum hosting the famous buried terracotta army, located in Xi’an in the mausoleum of the first emperor of China, has announced its closure due to the epidemic focus, without giving a date of reopening.

China has been pursuing a strategy since last year “zero Covid”, Which consists of doing everything to limit the occurrence of new cases as much as possible. These generally swell only a few dozen per day. The authorities want in particular to avoid any major outbreak before the Beijing Winter Olympics (February 4-20) and congestion in transport as the Lunar New Year approaches (February 1). The Chinese Ministry of Health announced this weekend that 1.19 billion people had already received two doses of vaccines in the country. This represents about 85% of the Chinese population.

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